tv PBS News Hour PBS August 9, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama promised new safeguards and more transparency for secret government surveillance programs even as he defended their existence. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: the president stressed the government is not interested in spying on ordinary citizens. we have excerpts from the white house's news conference. >> there are steps we can take to give the american people additional confidence that there are additional safeguards against abuse. so i've directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about these programs as possible. >> woodruff: then, despite recent challenging moments of diplomacy, the u.s. and russia held high-level meetings in washington.
margaret warner recaps today's talks. >> brown: four out of ten street lights don't work and it takes an hour on average for detroit police to respond to 9-1-1 calls. hari sreenivasan looks at the motor city's battle amid bankruptcy. >> detroiters are so used to bad news, and they are so used to things not really breaking our way, and they're used to getting up the next morning and going, "well, i can't stop, i've got to keep going, i've got to keep trying." >> woodruff: david brooks and ruth marcus analyze the week's news. >> brown: and yes, those are goats in that graveyard. more than a hundred of them. kwame holman tells us what they're doing in this historic washington, d.c., cemetery. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president obama pledged new oversight of government surveillance programs today, but said the spying would continue. his comments came in the first full-scale news conference since april, lasting nearly an hour in the east room of the white house. >> it's not enough for me, as
president, to have confidence in these programs. the american people need to have confidence in them as well. >> woodruff: the president followed those remarks by outlining four steps his administration would take to provide more safeguards and greater transparency around the government's surveillance activities. they included working with congress to reform the patriot act's section 215, the law that allows the government to collect phone metadata; adding a privacy representative to the foreign intelligence surveillance court; releasing the legal rationale for collection of data and appointing an n.s.a. representative committed to privacy, and inviting outside experts to review how the government does its surveillance. the measures come as the administration has faced mounting scrutiny over its surveillance programs following the leaks from former spy agency contractor edward snowden.
mr. obama was asked if today's move changed his mindset about snowden. >> is he now more a whistle- blower than he is a hacker, as you called him at one point, or somebody that shouldn't be filed charges? and should he be provided more protection? is he a patriot? >> i don't think mr. snowden was a patriot. as i said in my opening remarks, i called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before mr. snowden made these leaks. my preference-- and i think the american people's preference-- would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws; a thoughtful, fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place, because i never made claims that all the
surveillance technologies that have developed since the time some of these laws had been put in place somehow didn't require, potentially, some additional reforms. that's exactly what i called for. that somehow they got there willy, nilly, just sucking in information on everybody and doing what we please with it. that's not the case. our laws specifically prohibit us from survailing u.s. persons without a warrant, and there are a whole range of safeguards that have been put in place to make sure that, that basic principle is abided by. but... but what is clear is that, whether because of the instinctive bias of the intelligence community to keep
everything very close and probably what's a fair criticism is my assumption that if we had checks and balances from the courts and congress, that that traditional system of checks and balances would be enough to give people assurance that these programs were run properly. you know, that assumption i think proved to be undermined by what happened after the leaks. i think people have questions about this program. and there's no doubt that mr. snowden's leaks triggered a much more rapid and passionate response than would have been the case if i had simply appointed this review board to go through-- and i'd sat down with congress and we had worked this thing through-- it would have been less exciting and it would not have generated as much press.
i actually think we would have gotten to the same place, and we would have done so without putting at risk our national security and some very vital ways that we are able to get intelligence that we need to secure the country. >> woodruff: the president was also asked about threats by some congressional republicans to shut down the government unless funding for the health care law is eliminated. >> they used to say they had a replacement. that... that never actually arrived, right? i mean, i've been hearing about this whole replace thing for two years. now, i just don't hear about it, because basically, they don't have an agenda to provide health insurance to people at affordable rates. and the... the idea that you would shut down the government at a time when the recovery's getting some traction, where we're growing, although not as fast as we need to, where the housing market is recovering, although not as fast as we would
like, that we would precipitate another crisis here in washington that no economist thinks is a good idea-- i'm assuming that they will not take that... that path. i have confidence that common sense in the end will prevail. >> woodruff: the president also fielded questions on his upcoming decision to appoint a new federal reserve chairman this fall, saying it was one of the most important decisions that remained in his presidency. and he also urged house republicans to move forward with an immigration reform bill once members return from their summer recess. >> brown: later in the program we'll have david brooks and ruth marcus respond to what the president said. between now and then: the u.s. and russia try to warm their frosty relationship; detroit struggles after declaring bankruptcy; brooks and marcus on the week's news and goats in the
graveyard. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: american government personnel left lahore, pakistan today because of a specific threat to the consulate there. the u.s. shifted non-essential staff from lahore to the capital, islamabad. embassy officials would not say when the consulate might reopen. the closing came amid a flurry of militant attacks, including one on a mosque in quetta today that killed six people. gunmen opened fire on worshippers as they were leaving. saudi arabia arrested two suspected al qaeda militants in connection with the recent closure of western embassies in the region. they were from yemen and chad. the saudi arabian interior ministry said an investigation found the two were plotting suicide attacks. computer hardware, electronic devices and mobile phones were seized along with the suspects. fire crews in southern california today battled strong winds as they raced to gain ground on a fast-moving wildfire. more than 1,600 firefighters are
working to put out the flames across the san jacinto mountains. the fire has grown to 25 square miles and is 25% contained. the blaze broke out wednesday afternoon. since then, it's destroyed more than two dozen homes, and forced some 1,800 residents to flee. president obama signed a bipartisan compromise on student loans into law today, just in time for the fall semester. he made it official during a ceremony in the oval office. the deal will tie interest rates to the performance of the financial markets. undergraduate students would see their borrowing rates fall back below 4%. but costs would rise over time as the economy improves. the international trade commission in washington found today that samsung electronics violated two apple patents on mobile devices. apple claimed samsung slavishly copied its iphone and ipad tablet computers. as part of the ruling, u.s. imports, sales and distribution
of those samsung products are prohibited. the import ban is subject to review by president obama, who could overturn it on public policy grounds. stocks on wall street today finished the week in negative territory and closed out the worst week since june. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 73 points to close at 15,425. the nasdaq fell nine points to close at 3,660. for the week, the dow lost a percent and a half. the nasdaq fell nearly 1%. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: despite heightened tensions between the u.s. and russia recently. high-level talks in washington today tried to find some common ground. margaret warner has the story. one of the the first questions nade's news conference was about the rocky u.s.-russian relationship.
>> when president putin came back into power, i think we saw more are the rick on the russian side that was anti-american, that played into some of the old sphwooptz the cold war contest between the united states and russia. i don't have a bad personal relationship with putin. i know the press likes to focus on body language, and he's got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid, in the back of the classroom. but the truth is that when we're in conversations together, oftentimes it's very productive >> warner: even before the president spoke, secretary of state john kerry and defense secretary chuck hagel began talks with their russian counterparts. the long-scheduled meeting at the state department went ahead, despite the president's granted asylum to u.s. national security agendy leaker edward snowden, as was evident when the two presidents met in scotland in june. but opening today's session, secretary kerry said he hoped the two sides could still engage on a wide range of issues.
>> it's no secret that we have experienced some challenging moments and, obviously, not just over the snowden case. we will discuss these differences today for certain. but this meeting remains important above and beyond the collisions and the moments of disagreement. >> warner: foreign minister sergey lavrov said he too hoped for progress in the day's talks. >> ( translated ): i remember that when i first met john in his current role and had what one might call establishing talks, he said that our countries have a special responsibility and there is much that depends on us so we need to work together as grown-ups. we will try to do this and count on a similar attitude in return. >> warner: but after the meetings, speaking to reporters at the russian embassy, lavrov didn't sound quite so positive. >> ( translated ): the overall mood is very positive, which inspires optimism, and i hope the consultations bring us
closure with respect to strategic ability and i hope they will continue to be instrumental in strengthing security globally. >> warner: but he took issue with president obama's comment about russiana's inclination slip into cold war mentality. >> ( translated ): it is clear there is no cold war we should expect. the relationship is quite normal and we shouldn't expect any aggravation. >> thank you very much. >> warner: yet, on a couple of contentious issues like syria and missile defense, lavrov offered no concrete evidence of progress made today. >> brown: margaret was at the russian embassy today and joins me now. >> warner: going, in of course, the big question was how would the russians arrive, what would be their attitude about the cancellation of the summit? would they be infuriated or actually ready to do business. from what we're told we both sides, the snowden affair was dealt with at the top, they
repeated their positions, and there was a more pragmatic tone dealing with all these specific poornz you could, however, see that, from what president obama said in his news conference which was scheduled after the meetings that as far as he was concerned there was no breakthrough. >> brown: you have been talking to u.s. officials i know all day. you can sum upon the problem from their perspective? the problem from their perspective is, of course, you have these intractable issues that the u.s. and russia are trying to cooperate on, like syria. how do you bring a political siewgz to that, but kerry and lavrov were at least talking on that all the time. the thing that really stuck in the white house's craw, the administration's craw, was president obama wrote a very careful and extensive letter in april laying out what he thought they really should accomplish before this summit, and in particular, offering-- suggesting further arms reductions, and offering a creative way in dealing with president putin's concerns about
missile defense. surprisingly to the united states, they didn't even get the-- it was an insult that there was no real reply. there was no real counter-proposals. a lot of talking in circles. and so that to them was evidence that putin just is not serious, really, about engaging with the united states right now. >> brown: and how much of it is personal obama-putin relationship is-- i mean, we heard the president talk a little bit about it. >> warner: yes. >> brown: he also pointedly referred to his progress with then-president medvedev ed, as opposed to president putin. >> warner: absolutely. and that was a calculated move on the president's part during those three years that medvedev ed was president. they did make progress. it is rooted in their different personalities. i mean, the two men are oil and water, but i think it's also rooted in president obama's temperament. that is, he is not seek a chummy relationship for its own say, as it's been described me. this isn't bill clinton wanting
to embrace boris yeltsin in a bear hug. this is a transactional guy. he wants to have deliverables, and if he thinks that putin isn't interested in that and the white house theory and the administration theory is that's because of putin's own domestic political problems, then he's not interested. >> brown: and how much from the russian side, how much were you able to gauge the lingering effects of the president's decision this week not to go to the summit, for example? >> warner: well, there are two strains. in the russian media it's being portrayed as obama being the one weak politically at home. he couldn't withstand the pressure over the snowden matter. he was responding childishly. the state-influenced media is playing it that way. the officials who came here actually at least gave in body language and in tone that they really do want to do business. and in fact, the defense minister made a curious statement and he was asked about this. he said, "far from lowering the temperature in our relationship it's actually heated it up."
he didn't mean hotter as in more contentious. the question is will there be meat on the bones? and on that question the u.s. administration felt, okay, they seem to be taking the missile defense proposals more seriously. i won't get into the details of those, but they still weren't prepared to come forward with the kind of proposal that then you could start having real negotiations and something for the two presidents to sign or agree on. >> brown: so when we hear the president talk about insurgency the overall relationship, and remember, of course, he came in saying he wanted to reset the relationship from four-plus years ago now. what does that mean at this point? >> warner: it means that the proof is in the pudding, that-- again, i'm not interested in just a relationship for its own sake. whereas he's lavished a lot of attention on medvedev ed, but that's because he thought there was a prospect of getting real deals, which there were. i think at this point it's clear that president obama has concluded you know, show me the
money. shooe show me your interest. and at the very end has a background briefing, statement officials today, and one of them said there will be another summit if and only when, or words to that effect,@it's the kind of summit that demonstrates that the u.s.-russia relationship matters. it's kind of one of those "ouch" comment. >> brown: margaret warner, thanks so much. >> warner: my pleasure. >> woodruff: now, from detroit. the largest u.s. city ever to file for bankruptcy. a look at what life is like for citizens of a city that has for decades been withering around them and some recent efforts to reverse the decline. hari sreenivasan reports. >> reporter: wow, this is bad, so all these yards are like this? >> all these yards, we have probably four vacant homes all
in this condition going this way. now this is a school route. >> reporter: what happened to rick piornack's neighborhood is just the most visual reminder of what's happened to detroit. but for piornack, it's one that hits close to home. so, compared to what it was like when you were a kid, this has got to be pretty sad to see? >> very sad, very sad. >> reporter: piornack spent more than 30 years fighting fires across this city. now retired and on a fixed income, he and his wife brenda are staying put in the home they have lived in for more than four decades despite the eroding houses around them. but piornack is feeling detroit's financial woes in other ways, too. he's is just one of nearly 30,000 current and retired city workers who expect to see cuts to their pensions and health care benefits as the city tries to dig itself out of financial ruin. detroit can't pay its bills, and it is looking to cut debts that city officials say reaches $18
billion. >> i feel very let down, my father was a police officer in the city, i've been a fireman in the city, my son is a fireman in the city. i feel like i've really been let down. >> reporter: just weeks ago, detroit became the largest municipality ever to file for bankruptcy. there are many unknowns as the city attempts a restructuring plan. stephen henderson, editorial editor at "the detroit free press grew up here and is intimately aware of the city's fighting spirit but says bankruptcy may be the city's toughest challenge yet. >> there's not much difference between most places in detroit and post-katrina new orleans. its not as shocking because it happened over a long period of time, but it's just as devastating. >> reporter: detroit's decline from an industrial powerhouse into a financial ruin has been slow and long. at its height in the 1950s, detroit boasted more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs.
now that number is less than 30,000. that 90% decrease has left huge holes, like the ones in piornack's neighborhood, all across the city. there are at least 60,000 parcels of vacant land. blighted houses are a frequent reminder of just how deep detroit's problems are. the city has seen the population decline from a peak of 1.8 million to just over 700,000 residents. that means a smaller tax base in a city trying to provide all the same services. 40% of the city's street lights don't work for lack of repair crews. the average response time for the detroit police department to a 911 call is 58 minutes. and buses are constantly late-- if they come at all-- making it hard for residents like ivory drake to make it to work and keep his job. >> it used to be i could get on the bus and be anywhere, and have to start an hour before i could start working, but now if you don't get out early enough,
or two hours before you have to be to work, you're late. >> reporter: the city has promised that reinvestment in these key services will be the silver lining of the bankruptcy. the city's recently appointed emergency manager kevyn orr says they hope to reinvest $1.25 billion in service upgrades and infrastructure. here's orr in a conversation with "newshour's" ray suarez in july. >> what detroiters should expect is that services are going to get better. we're already focusing on lighting, blight, police services, health, safety and welfare concerns. >> reporter: but detroiters like kim and ivory drake are still skeptical about whether the bankruptcy process means the city can improve their east detroit neighborhood. >> i bet if you come back, next year... >> my lights will still be out. >> it'll probably still be looking the same, you'll probably still have them houses over there that's vacant, the one right next to me, the one right down the corner, it's not going to help at all. >> i think the legitimate cynicism people have is that
bankruptcy will just be about making a barebones, bare minimum city, financially solvent, spartan services, not that many people and things like that. >> reporter: some communities are beyond waiting for the city to turn things around, they've taken matters into their own hands. everyday, residents in this northwest corner of detroit are rolling up their sleeves and using whatever tools they can get their hands on to tear down vacant houses. they're transforming urban wastelands into gardens and boarded up storefronts into murals. we dropped by a busy meeting in the community of brightmoor where residents like jody scarlett discuss neighborhood needs and then delegate the resources necessary to tackle them. >> if you ask the city for
something, it's just bureaucracy, just wait, it's like a hurry up and wait and wait and nothing ever gets done. the community group helps us to get things done that the city just doesn't provide. >> reporter: community action has been fueled by private and non-profit investment. just weeks ago these 14 blocks in brightmoor were full of 84 tons of debris, overgrown weeds, and rotting trash. now the land has been cleared, it's a $500,000 privately funded project that local nonprofits hope to see replicated around the city. the next phase of this project terrance gores house is one of the few remaining in this cluster of blocks. gore started out just picking up trash-- now he works full time driving a tractor to combat the blight that surrounds him in brightmoor. he used to call the neighborhood the moor because he could not see anything bright about it. >> you're talking about this, every day smell. it stinks from the trash people
and now just to wake up you can smell fresh air, you can look, and it's like, i'm amazed. it's a good feeling, it's like i can't really describe how it feels every day just to wake up to a cleaner neighborhood. >> reporter: he is hopeful that the bankruptcy is a chance to reset the deck for the whole city and that it will only bolster his neighborhood's efforts. >> i'm just seeing this as just a start. if we can get this done, while going to bankruptcy, what can we get done when we're financially stable? a whole lot more than this. >> reporter: it won't be easy. 40% of brightmoor's families live below the poverty line and in a single decade the neighborhood's population dropped by 35%. even those who are working to better the community are cautiously optimistic. >> i'm hopeful that it will get better, but at the same time i'm very.... at times i just want to get out. at times i just want to leave my house behind and go. >> reporter: reviving neighborhoods is critical but so are jobs.
and that's where new industries closer to the city center might make a difference. many are high tech startups but shinola is bringing manufacturing back to the motor city. it's making craft bicycles, watches, and fine leather goods. business has taken off and in terms of the city's bankruptcy filing, c.e.o. steve bock says the company knew what it was getting into. >> we knew when we came to detroit several years ago that there were financial challenges, that there were challenges in the city. had we made a decision today if the bankruptcy had been declared, we would have made exactly the same decision. >> reporter: shinola assembly line leader willie holley has even more ambitions for the future. so what's your best case scenario, two years from now, five years from now, what do you see happening? >> i see us expanding, especially on our other wing, trying to make other goods, and journals, and things of that nature, and just having like a huge workforce, sort of, that can compete even with the big three, so i mean, it would be nice if shinola was in lights
next to g.m. in the other renaissance building, or something like that. >> reporter: right now that seems like a far off dream. but other investments and young people coming to the city may make that dream possible. >> detroiters are so used to bad news, and they are so used to things not really breaking our way, and they're used to getting up the next morning and going, "well, i can't stop, i've got to keep going, i've got to keep trying." >> reporter: that resilience might turn out to be the city's greatest asset, that not even a bankruptcy can liquidate. >> brown: online, will other cities follow in detroit's footsteps? you can take a second look at our "health of cities" conversation. that's on our homepage. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of brooks and marcus. that is "new york times" columnist david brooks and "washington post" columnist ruth marcus. mark shields is off today. mark shields is off today. so i want to ask you both about the president's news conference.
first, david, what we just saw from detroit, is there some reason to be helpful? >> maybe. it's not good when one of your leading industries is tearing things down but there are amazing gains to be made concentrating population. accident scenity of population creates economic gains, and some development in downtown detroit, which is sort of like yuppies coming back. so if they can shrink the city back to a more concentrated core, there may be some rebound. property values are pretty low. >> woodruff: do you take some hope away from this? >> well, i thought the discussion of community organizing-- i know that's a little bit of a dirty word-- but community action and the energy of the nonprofit sector was very uplifting and very hopeful. but in the end, you cannot have a city without a functioning city government, and when people are waiting for an hour for an ambulance-- >> woodruff: it's tough. >>-- it's time. hopefully the bankruptcy will help it-- with the community,
will help detroit get back on track but you really diso have to cross your fingers. >> woodruff: 40% of the street lights not working. that's tough. let's talk about what the president said today, afternoon news conference, david, announced more steps to provide more transparency, more safeguards around government surveillance programs. why is he-- why is he announcing this now? >> well, you know, i think-- i saw the law professor back. we had federalist 10, go back to the federalist papers. we have a government based on clash of interests. and there is a clash of interest between liberty ask security. when we built the post-9/11 stuff we built up structures for security, kind of left out structures for liberty piece. even those of us who think the programs are successful, think they work, don't think there have been too many abuse, should acknowledge the need for a structure for liberty. i don't know how strong the structures are that the president built in, but he built in a component in the private
courts of liberty, built some outside review boards to emphasize that side of equation. so i think we're getting closer to a mature system which has both sides represented, the clashing of legitimate interests. i think today was the maturation of our security state. >> i have a shorter answer to your question of why the president announced this, and it's two words-- edward snowden. i am not a partisan or fan of mr. snowden, but it has to be said that we would not be having this discussion were it not for him. and i think it's long, long overdue. the president alluded to it in his previous speech that he mentioned today at the national defense university. but the fact of the matter is that snowden's disclosures really prompted an assessment of the kind of tensions that david is talking about that really was long overdue. i have to say, there's a little bit less here than meets the eye. he sort of announced a four-point plan to have a four-point plan, the details are
kind of to come. >> woodruff: well, he said these changes are coming anyway. he said they were going to come. they just came faster because of what snowden did. >> that strikes as about right. there's no question we wouldn't be talking about this without snowden. my paper was doing stories on n.s.a., and things were dribbling out, and it was sort of stuff we would write about but it wasn't a big, hot political item until snowden. there's no question about that. the one thing i would say, i think it's wrong to codify this entirely. when you've got a national security issue, we really have to rely on the discretion of the civil servants involved in this. when you've got a serious threat, we want them to lean a little forward. when you don't, we want them to lean a little back, but it requires an an awareness of the specific context we're in, and the president alluded to something interested-- he trusted the system but understands people outside washington don't trust the system. the one thing i would say-- and this doesn't get said enough even if you're not ia big fan of government it's civil servants who work here are surprisingly
coverage of competent, surprisingly committed and i think they're worth having some trust, in the career people in these sorts of jobs. >> woodruff: are you saying you think what he announced today is unnecessary then? >> i wouldn't say that. i do think you need those counter-balances, but i do think the people doing these jobs-- they're not particularly political. they're not particularly aggressive, and as he said, there have not been abuse. we're talking about the potential for abuse, but see that are there haven't been tremendous aabuse. at the same time, we have really done tremendous damage to al qaeda. >> well, and we saw it this week with all of the warnings about the problems in yenl and the closing of the embassies. we do want, when things like that happen, a little bit of leaning forward, though i think i do disagree with david about the need for codification, because while i think that the people who work in this field-- and as many people in washington-- are very dedicated public servants, they do not have the built-in desire-- in fact the president mentioned
their instinct to keep things secret. you do need to build in more protections, more oversight, both in the foreign intelligence surveillance court, and in terms of disclosure, and in terms of congressional review than the existing system has had. >> woodruff: i think i hear a difference of opinion. >> i think so, but it's not clear what's been announced, and it's not clear how it's going to be enacted when it's put into place. there might be an advocate in these courts, in these fisa courts but how strong will that advocate? be what kind of leverage of that person have. that seems to me murky. definitely murky. >> woodruff: connected to snowden-- although the president said it is not the only relationship he canceled his meeting with president putin of russia, where does this leave the u.s.-russian relation. >> nobody slowched. everybody sit up. don't be putin. >> you know, it's bad. we're in a dark point of the relationship. part of it is at the top. putin is a guy who likes to
compete with other men. obama is a guy who likes to compete with other men. and they seem a psychodrama as putin got into a psychodrama with bush before them. a lot of the personal and a lot of petty, when you hear the backroom stories of mano a mano. >> my dog is bigger than your dog. >> we're being run by 14-year-olds. >> in the women take over but there was a competition whose dog was bigger and pint had a bigger dog than barney. so there's that element. but the bigger problem is that we have gotten russia into a spot where they're benefitting from this. pint benefits from this. he's in dicey political straits. he gets to take the u.s. on, both on snowedden and gay issues, really popular for him back home. i think there was probably a more supple way not to put him in this confrontational mode where he would benefit from dissing us. >> woodruff: and you think that's what happened? >> and i don't think we've been
supple enough about that. >> i think this was a pretty calculated snub. yes, it's a dark relationship, but we do not want to break it. somen some ways, we need them more than they need us. we need them, russia, on sirpia, on iran. they hold the seat on the security council. and so even-- as margaret's piece said, fans we are cancelling the summit, we're having these other meetings soap you want to-- the relationship is frayed but you don't want to break it. >> woodruff: the one domestic issue that came up today was health care reform. , ruth. the president was pretty passionate in terms of going after the republicans for threatening to shut downtown government. should we read something into this? >> yes! maybe the president finally a year-plus after the fact is getting his groove on health care. i thought this was the most effective presentation he's made politically against the republicans saying i don't quite
get this. they want to shut down the government to make sure that more people don't get health care. and i thought it was a pretty good line. and particularly because the republicans have helped him in two ways by having this really unfortunate, and irresponsible threat to shut down the government by refusing refuseino the normal tweaks he mentioned to help fix any new law which is not going to be fully functional immediately and also because the republicans haven't really come up with an alternative behind'd beyond defund obamacare? >> woodruff: finally getting his groove. >> i thought he was fine. he will not allow the government to shut down. he will blink. the last government shutdown, i thought it was his strongest moment to take on the republicans and say, another shut down the government, boys. and he decided not to do that. for legitimate reasons. they were afraid of what would happen to the economy. so he folded a little bit there. i think they'll know he will do
that again. >> woodruff: because he thought they would act on it. >> he was afraid of going to the brink and shutting down the government, because he thought the economy would take a hit, which he was right about, and he ciefd in a little and i assume republicans know that will happen again. >> i think there's intensity to blink on both side asht least in terms of the government running out of money. we'll see what happens when we get to the very close issue of what happens with the debt ceiling. but, yes, the president has had a history of blinking. i think the republicans may be more more likely to blink at least over the defunding of obamacare. >> the republicans have a strong incentive to blink, too. >> everybody is blinking. >> woodruff: nothing to do with blinking, but, ruth, the newspaper for which you write your column, big sale this week, amazon. surprised? how did you-- you and your colleagues, what did you think? >> surprise is not a strong enough word.
stunned. this was something-- i said it was the day our earth stood still. this was something we never in a million years contemplated because the graham family is the woem, the "washington post" is the graham family. we had always understood their ownership structure-- we are a publicly held company but they have the majority shairdz, was our bull work. this was a sad day for people like me who spent 30 years working at the "washington post." i worked for the graham, but the graham family decided in the end to transfer the newspaper, sell it to jeff bezos, of amazon, in order to help protect it. so there's reasons to be-- i'm stunned. i'm sad. but there are reasons to be hopeful here. first of all, jeff bezos has a lot of men to help the people. ssked all, he's got patience to
work it out. and third, he's got experience in this new age of the internet. my amazon products come very quickly and effectively, and if he can do for the "post" what he did for amazon, god bless him. >> if i can kiss up to my-- >> woodruff: is that what you were doing? >> i don't care about them anymore. >> the sainted salzburger family, they've taken hit for us and the grahams took hit for the "post." financially, it's to save newsroom jobs, and i think people should be grateful, they are some of the most humble people in washington-- maybe the only ones-- catherine graham, if anybody hasn't read her memoir, read that. a life of fully rich growth through life. and so they were trust ease to a great institution, treating it not only as a business but as an act of public service. and i agree with ruth, at the end of the day, the "post" was
doing what newspapers are doing these days and this is a way out. newspapers are going to be less like a business, a little more like a university in the years ahead. >> woodruff: we hear you both. david brooks, ruth marcus, thank you. >> brown: we'll be back shortly with an unusual tale of goats grazing in a historic graveyard. but first: this is pledge week on pbs. this break allows your public television station to ask for your support. and that support helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> woodruff: for those stations not taking a pledge break, we have an encore look at a recent spike in an airborne disease known as valley fever, spreading throughout the southwest. ray suarez has our story. >> reporter: the mojave desert is known for extreme heat and fierce wind. recent years of hotter and drier seasons have only intensified those conditions.
drivers sometimes need headlights to navigate through thick dust storms. you might think of a blast of gritty breeze as uncomfortable, rather than threatening, but westerners have good reason to worry about what that wind is carrying. biologist antjie lauer is at the desert's western edge-- the nasa dryden center- to study one tiny local inhabitant she suspects is actually benefiting from prolonged drought-- a microscopic fungus called coccidiodes or cocci. >> they adapt to desert soils. so they can tolerate high temperatures. higher p.h. levels. >> reporter: while a continued drought may be good news for the cocci fungus, it's very bad news for humans, because this fungus can be deadly. all it takes is a gust of wind. when the fungus becomes airborne it's easily inhaled. once in moist lungs, it can
cause an infection called valley fever. the infection can cause illness ranging from flu like symptoms to severe pneumonia, even death. >> we will alter the extract valley fever is not contagious, and it is not new to people who live in california and arizona deserts, particularly those who work outside. but the c.d.c. reported this march that the number of valley fever cases in endemic areas soared between 1998-2011 from 2,000 to over 24,000. >> we have about 900% increase in valley fever cases, and people try to speculate why that is the case, and one hypothesis that i'm pursuing is that the draught is actually favoring, or the continuous drought is favoring any spore formed in the soil, which includes the valley fever fungus, and it outcompetes all the microorganisms that are not easily forming spores. >> reporter: while antje lauer
looks at the coccis ability to thrive in dry soil, scientist vic etyemazian, from arizona's desert research institute, explores the role of dust in valley fevers dramatic rise. >> valley fever is very much a sort of a dust-related event, if you have much more abundant areas where valley fever spores can be suspended in the air, then you can imagine that the exposure for people can go up to the future. >> reporter: etyemazian and a colleague move measuring devices propelled by a baby jogger across the rutted desert landscape. >> what we're doing is measuring the potential for wind erosion and the potential for dust emission at different equivalent wind speeds. so we're trying to understand if the wind is blowing at say 35 miles an hour, which of these areas is most susceptible to, to dust becoming airborne. >> reporter: the scientists are part of a bigger project funded by nasa to study possible impacts of climate change on nasa centers.
climate change is not the only suspect in the increased illnesses. you also have to take into account the human footprint on the land. these days the desert sprouts subdivisions, shopping centers, and oil derricks and every time you disturb the land you can release the cocci spore into a stiff wind like this one, and they can travel 75 miles. at the edge of the desert in fast growing bakersfield california, infectious disease specialist dr. royce johnson, an expert on valley fever, says anyone can get sick, even if you just drive through a desert area. >> all you have to do is take a breath at the wrong time, it'll impact your lower lung, and the infection starts from there, and can spread anywhere it wants to in the body. >> reporter: johnson says so little is known about valley fever, it is still unclear why reactions to the infection are so varied. >> most people in fact will successfully fight off the infection, and have no symptoms, and have lifelong immunity from it.
about 40% of the people that are infected get a flu like illness. >> reporter: for a small fraction of the population, people like al rountree-- the condition can be life threatening. his lungs became so inflamed, he was put on breathing machine in the i.c.u. i've been sick a lot, but nothing like, i've never been this sick in my life, and like i said, i've had a lot of things happen, but i've never been this sick in my life, and it's just devastating. >> reporter: now, after months of intensive infusions of an antifungal drug that is very tough on the body, rountree is on the mend. >> we'll transition you to an oral drug and we'll probably treat you for the next three years or so. >> reporter: al rountree's infection was confined to his lungs. valley fever is most dangerous when the fungus spreads, or disseminates, that condition is often fatal. since 1990, more than 3,000 people have died. >> if it goes to your brain it produces meningitis that can kill you by a variety of mechanisms.
it can also kill you if it goes through the blood stream, and goes back to your lung, and you get respiratory failure, you can end up on a ventilator in the i.c.u., and then it can also kill you sort of like cancer does, you can just waste away from having a lot of disease, and not being able to control it. >> reporter: while people with dr. johnson says much of the general public and many physicians have never heard of valley fever, leading to patients going untreated as the disease worsens, or getting treatment for the wrong illness. >> i tell my medical students >> reporter: higher profile illnesses like west nile virus receive twenty times as much in federal funding, even though more people get sick from valley fever. >> west nile virus came to the united states in new york city, one of the world's most famous metropolises, it also has multiple medical schools, but new york city, bakersfield, i think resources were put together because of where this virus landed. >> reporter: antje lauer agrees. >> there are no valley fever cases, and there is no incidents of coccidioidomycosis on the east coast, where all the
politicians are sitting, so they are never reading anything in the news about valley fever around washington. so they are not that concerned. >> reporter: there's a lot more scientists say they must know about cocci spores; how they grow; where they blow as the tiny spore makes more americans sick. >> woodruff: online, you can find the c.d.c.'s list of ten things you should know about valley fever. >> brown: finally tonight, an unusual way to weed a cemetery is giving new meaning to the kwame holman is back with the story. >> holman: it's a part of washington where only one barnyard beast is most often invoked. >> pork! >> pork! >> pork! >> they call it pork! >> holman: in a city filled with animal mascots and icons, from the democrats' donkey, to the republican elephant and the "rino," or "republican in name only."
this week, with congress well and gone from its hill during these dog days of summer. it was the goats' town for the taking. a trailer-full was loosed on a once-neglected quarter of capitol hill-- the 200-plus-year old historic congressional cemetery. >> we have a lot of english ivy, poison ivy, kudzu and i knew the goats were the solution to take care of that. >> reporter: paul williams is president of the association that safeguards the cemetery; it is not affiliated with the u.s. congress, except in name: >> about 20 years ago the cemetery was all but abandoned. it had lots of weed and trees and toppled headstones. >> holman: even though it's been cleaned up since, the large trees bordering the cemetery were so overgrown they were in danger of falling on graves. so, instead of gallons of roundup and roaring chainsaws, they opted for a green alternative from a farm near annapolis, maryland >> they should be here six or
seven calendar days. 12 grazing days, using two herds. >> holman: brian knox runs sustainable resource management. he's the goat's shepherd and this week with outsized media attention their quasi-agent. >> holman: the goats aren't here, in the cemetery proper, but there are memorials to 200 congressmen who find their final resting place here and a herd of bold-faced names from two centuries of washington life. we asked "newshour" regular and presidential historian richard norton smith to join us at the cemetery. he said the groundclearing goats were not in fact trailblazers. >> back in w.w.i., the white house put a flock of sheep on the south lawn. mrs. wilson was called little bo peep, then as now presidency involved theater.
>> holman: he also acquainted us with some of the once-leading lights laid to rest here. >> well among the stars: there's j. edgard hoover and john phillip sousa, who's regularly serenaded here. there's a whole host of quasi historical celebrities: belva lockwood ran in 1884. >> holman: when she couldn't vote got 4,000 votes, from sympathetic men. preston brooks, who beat charles sumner on the floor of the senate. you think partisan bickering is bad now. >> holman: beyond that, richard said this quiet place recalls a timeless majesty now all but lost.
>> there are no red states or blue states in here. doesn't matter if you have skins tickets it all winds up here in ultimate form of democracy. >> holman: the goats are above partisan rancor. when we arrived, the goats were on their break. >> these are not union goats! we have 58 goats here today. they'll be grazing for about six days on 1.6 acres at a cost of about $4,000. >> holman: and in bottom-line- conscious washington, these billies come in under budget. >> but if you break it down, it's about 25 cents per goat, per hour, below minimum wage, but it's all you can eat! >> holman: there was millie and 007 and the pygmy goat called weird al. he's a bit of a loner says knox. >> every goat's got his own personality. the analogy of high school is actually great for goats: because, with a herd, you've got
these little subgroups that are very clique like. there might be four or five >> holman: one local resident brought her dog for a walk and was glad to see the cemetery get its due. >> the cemetery is washington's best kept secret. attention from eco-goats getting and that was the whole purpose! >> holman: retired surgeon massimo righini has lived in washington 50 years. what about cleaning up the cemetery's namesake institution? >> i don't think there are any goats in the world that can clean up congress right now. it's probably un-digestable. >> holman: be that as it may, the herd has four more days to work its wonders on at least this part of capitol hill. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day:
president obama pledged to make the nation's surveillance programs more transparent in an effort to restore public trust. the president also said he's >> the state department plans to reopen 18 of 19 consulates in middle east and satisfactory closed becauseave terrorist threat. theequacy in yemen will remain closed. >> brown: online, we continue our look at a growing movement for seniors to "age in place." in baltimore, a johns hopkins program helps elders assess risks of staying in their homes. and on making sense, econo- crooner merle hazard, a.k.a. nashville money manager jon shayne, sings about challenges ahead for the federal reserve in his latest music video, "the great unwind." plus seven economists weigh in with their perspectives. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. but before we go, a reminder: the news doesn't stop on friday, and soon, neither will the
"newshour." starting in september, join our own hari sreenivasan every saturday and sunday for a 30-minute look at the latest news from around the nation and the world. the all-new "pbs newshour weekend" premieres on saturday, september 7. for more information, visit pbs.org. and on the "newshour" on monday, is the government snooping on our private lives with cameras that photograph license plate numbers? i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thanks for joining us. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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america." president obama announced his government surveillance program and assesses this deteriorating relationship with russia. >> we're doing things that are good for the united states and hopefully good for russia as well. but recognizing there are going to be some differences. we will not be able to completely disguise them. >> hiding in plain sight. this sicilian mafia boss was living in italy for decades. italy wants him back to serve his time. it is summer. it must be time for that vacation souvenir. we will trace how the trinkets have become big business.